The RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter crew at Mount Isa has made its response time to missions quicker than ever with the help of SES and Mckinlay Shire Council.
The Mount Isa aircraft has been known to travel almost seven hours for a single mission, and often requires refuelling on long flights.
To avoid the chopper losing valuable time, SES crews in the McKinlay shire custom built a trailer, which carries fuel drums for the helicopter.
Instead of the chopper flying to the fuel, the SES delivers the fuel to the chopper.
In a recent mission to Kynuna to help a patient in a vehicle rollover, the SES towed the fuel trailer while the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crew flew non-stop to the scene.
The flight paramedic was treating the patient as the aircrew refuelled the helicopter.
It saved two diversions to refuel and cut at least an hour off the length of the mission, meaning the patient was airlifted to Mt Isa Hospital sooner.
"The fuel trailer initiative means we can service more areas in the community, because the crews aren't restricted by where they will need to stop for fuel," LifeFlight general manager of operations, Brian Guthrie said.
"For the patient, it also decreases the time between receiving care at the scene and in a hospital.
"Helicopters can't travel as far as planes in one trip, but they can access more areas and land in more challenging terrain, which makes the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue service so vital to the community."
The drums are distributed in various locations across north west Queensland, with the cost of fuel funded entirely by LifeFlight.
"This has been a game changer for our community in Mckinlay Shire," SES volunteer Stephen Malone said.
"We've been able to expand our capability and range to extract people from remote locations.
"We've always worked closely with LifeFlight, council and the Queensland Ambulance Service, and this is only going to improve those relationships."
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